Written Answers. - Hospital Bed Losses.

20.

asked the Minister for Health the net loss of hospital beds for each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on the implications for the health service of the trend indicated.

The figures requested by the Deputy are set out below in so far as they are available. I would like to point out however that while the figures show some reduction in the number of hospital beds for the relevant years, this should not be taken to indicate a decrease in the availability of hospital services. Much greater throughput has been achieved in the use of available beds and hospitals have also considerably increased the amount of work done on a day care basis over the period.

Year

Number of acute consultant-staffed hospital beds

1983

15,031

1984

14,761

1985

14,772

1986

14,398

1987

12,101

30 September

11,196

1988